Tattoos are being covered up, shoes are being dumped down garbage chutes and $1.5 million is reportedly missing. What in the world is happening with Lonzo Ball and Big Baller Brand?
As the Lakers season has slowly eroded, Lonzo Ball hasn’t been on the court. He hasn’t played Jan. 19 and it was announced on Mar. 9 that Ball would be shut down for the rest of the season as he worked to get his left ankle fully healthy.
Still, Ball’s name has been a mainstay in headlines because of conversations about his role in the Lakers’ future and the future of Big Baller Brand, the clothing line he and his father, LaVar, started. Last week, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne broke the story that Ball had severed his ties with the company, in part because of questions about financial improprieties by Alan Foster, a co-founder of the company. Since that report, the fire has been stoked by several curious social media posts and the future of the company, which has been plagued by issues with design, management and product delivery since its inception, is very much up in the air.
If you’re wondering what’s going on with Lonzo and Big Baller Brand, this timeline will catch you up with where we are right now.
Mar. 22, 2019
This is the date that ESPN broke the news that Lonzo was separating from the company and specifically because of questions about Foster. ESPN’s report included a direct quote from Lonzo, saying he suspected Foster had, “used his access to my business and personal finances to enrich himself. As a result, I have decided to sever all ties with Alan, effective immediately.”
Foster, the business manager for Big Baller Brand and all of the family’s other assorted companies, had previously served time in prison for mail fraud and money laundering in a scheme that defrauded over 70 investors, information that Lonzo said he did not have until an ESPN reporter asked him about Foster’s past in an interview two weeks before this report.
According to ESPN, question caused Lonzo to look closer at allegations made by his former financial advisor, Humble Lukanga, last Fall that $1.5 million in funds that Foster had access to were unaccounted for. Lukanaga specifically alleged that Foster had withdrawn the money, in cash, but couldn’t or wouldn’t explain why or where it gone. ESPN’s report also included the detail that Darren Moore, Lonzo’s personal manager, had previously raised questions about Foster possibly mishandling income from the family’s businesses.
While Lonzo declared at this time that he was severing ties with Foster and the company, ESPN’s reporting covered the point that it may not be as simple as making the declaration.
According to incorporation documents filed in Wyoming obtained by ESPN, Lonzo owns 51 percent of Big Baller Brand, and his father, 16.4 percent. Lonzo’s mother and Foster each own 16.3 percent. Though Lonzo said in a statement that he has severed all ties with Foster, it was unclear Friday how the business ties would be untangled. Sources close to the Balls said Lonzo first made the decision independent of his father. It also remained unclear Friday what business ties remain between LaVar and Foster.
Mar. 24, 2019
Two days after the initial report, Lonzo shared an image of himself on Instagram with an aesthetic and caption that many internet sleuths noted bore a resemblance to Nike advertisements. Was Lonzo tipping his hand? Or just letting Nike know he’s interested?
Mar. 25, 2019
Three days after ESPN’s initial report, Darren Moore, Lonzo’s manager who had previously raised questions about Foster, shared a video of himself dumping his Big Baller Brand shoes down a garbage chute, along with the hashtag #dumpurmerch.
Mar. 27, 2019
Two days later, an image made the rounds on social media, appearing to show Lonzo’s Big Baller Brand forearm tattoo having been covered up by black and red dice.
The future of the company will almost certainly need to be worked out with lawyers in the room. This timeline will be updated to reflect any new details or reporting but it seems all but certain that Big Baller Brand is dead and Lonzo Ball has some big decisions to make about his future.